Obituary - Father Richard J Bourgeois OSB

 Fr Richard was a Benedictine monk of Glastonbury Abbey, Massachusetts and a friend to many priests in the UK. In addition to his life-long interest in the fine arts, his commitment to pastoral ministry and inter-religious dialogue, his devotion to the beauty of monastic prayer and Catholic liturgy and his prodigious mind, Fr Richard Bourgeois will be best remembered for his extraordinary capacity for friendship. His many professional and ministerial assignments took him around the world. A proficiency in languages and his vibrant personality made him accessible to and cherished by people from all walks of life and many cultures. In September 1996 he was thrilled to be named an honorary citizen of the village of Amaroni in Calabria, Italy. Richard Joseph Bourgeois was born on 20 December 1946 in New Bedford, the son of Stanley and Cremilde Bourgeois and brother of Stanley and John Bourgeois. Raised in South Dartmouth, he attended Dartmouth public schools, graduating from Dartmouth High in 1964. He joined the Benedictine monks of Glastonbury Abbey in 1965 and made solemn monastic profession in November 1974. In his early years at the Abbey, Fr Richard served as Abbey Choir Director and designed special community liturgical celebrations for Advent, Christmas and Lenten observances. For 5 years he was also the music director at St Paul's Church, Hingham. Fr Richard was part of the Monastic Formation Team and Retreat Staff for Glastonbury Abbey. Fr Richard pursued higher education and received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of Sant Anselmo in Rome, where he subsequently served as Registrar and later as Director of the Theology Renewal Program. Upon his return to Boston in 1998, Fr Richard took on the role of Director of Development of Glastonbury Abbey and quickly became involved in the religious and civic life of Boston and especially of the South Shore area. He served as President of the Hingham-Hull Religious Leaders Association and as Regional Director of Liturgy for the Archdiocese of Boston. In 2001, Fr Richard was named North American Director of the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museum with residence in Dallas. After only a year and a half in this new role, Fr Richard, in the full force of his personality, had successfully mobilized and vitalized the many chapters of the Patrons of the Arts in North America. He delighted in sharing his knowledge of the Arts and his photographic memory with the Patrons and he especially loved shepherding visitors through the beauties of the Vatican Museums and the intricacies of Rome, a city he knew intimately and always loved. Recently, Fr Richard had been diagnosed with a rare skin disorder, pityriasis rubra pilaris (PRP) and was undergoing treatment. On 6 November Fr Richard experienced serious complications and was rushed to St Paul's hospital in Dallas where he remained in critical condition in the intensive care until he died early in the morning of Saturday, 9 November. A memorial Mass was held the following day at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dallas, where Fr Richard was in residence at the time of his death. His body has now been transferred to Glastonbury Abbey, Massachusetts, in the United States of America, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated, today, Friday, 15 November. Fr Richard will be laid to rest in the Abbey cemetery following Mass. Source: Archdiocese of Birmingham media office

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